How to Become a Criminal Investigator With the Bernalillo County Sheriff's Department

As the third largest law enforcement agency in the state, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department sees more than its fair share of serious crime. The Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigation Division is tasked with solving the county’s most challenging and significant cases.

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Last year criminal investigators with the CID investigated approximately 756 cases of felony crime throughout the county, including seven murders and 209 vehicle thefts. The CID’s specialized units address persistent areas of criminal activity:

  • Violent crimes and homicide unit
  • Special victims unit
  • Criminalistics
  • White Collar
  • Narcotics
  • Gangs

To become a criminal investigator with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, candidates will need to make sure they are competitively qualified to join the CID. This typically starts by becoming a sheriff’s deputy, serving for five years, then seeking advancement to become a detective.

Qualifications to Become a Detective with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s CID

Criminal investigator Requirements – Though not a specific requirement, a relevant associate’s or bachelor’s degree in any of the following fields can provide a foundational jumping-off point for the possibility of further career development:

  • Criminal Justice
  • Forensic Science
  • Police Science
  • Law Enforcement

To emphasize the value the sheriff’s department places on college education for, it offers academic incentive pay of $45 per month, plus a program for reimbursing college tuition.

The remaining requirements for detective jobs with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigation Division include:

  • High school diploma
  • Five years of experience as a law enforcement officer, including experience as a criminal investigator
  • Possession of a sound moral and ethical character
  • US citizenship

Criminal Investigator Training – After five years of experience as a sheriff’s deputy, criminal investigators with the Bernalillo County Sheriff Department’s will already have undergone hundreds of hours of training. Advanced detective training is provided to make sure new investigators are current in their field. Training can cover:

  • Conducting undercover operations
  • White collar crime
  • Organized crime
  • Narcotics investigations
  • Sex trafficking
  • Investigating crimes against children
  • Weapons and explosives smuggling
  • Anti-terror investigations

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department Rank Structure

The rank structure within the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department is as follows:

  • Cadet – rank held by the newly hired officer while completing 25 weeks of the basic training academy; annual salary is $36,920
  • Deputy Second Class – rank held by state-certified officers after they have graduated from the training academy; annual salary is $43,160
  • Deputy First Class – rank held by more experienced officers who have a greater level of responsibility; annual salary is $52,062
  • Lateral Hire – applicants who have more than one year of sworn law enforcement experience will automatically be hired at the Deputy First Class rank
  • Sergeant – candidates can be promoted to this rank once they have served as a police officer for five years and have passed the Sergeant exam; annual salary is $61,089

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